Tomato Cheese Salad
Fresh, ripe tomatoes
(large or small)
Freshly picked basil
Black Kalamata olives
Freshly ground pepper
Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
(or, use Paul Newman’s Balsamic vinaigrette)
Slice tomatoes and arrange on a pretty platter or individual plates. Wash basil thoroughly, dry well and pull off leaves.
Discard any imperfect leaves. Cut cheese into slices, or if using small balls, cut in half. Arrange basil leaves and cheese over, under and around tomatoes. Scatter olives over the top. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle lightly with dressing. Serve within a couple hours. It will lose some of its flavor if refrigerated.
Note: Use only the best, freshest ingredients for this salad. Homegrown, perfectly ripe, never-refrigerated tomatoes are preferred. Fresh mozzarella balls in brine are best, although other mozzarellas may be substituted. Feta cheese is another option. Basil can easily be grown in a back porch container. Basil leaves can be cut into thin strips (‘chiffonade’) if preferred, but I love the way the salad looks with whole leaves.